Here is my handy list of what NOT to do at this most wonderful time of the year…
- You must NOT mistakenly proceed with Christmassy business without first seeking permission from the Committee for Christmas Commencement. Nobody knows which precise date they have declared The Start of Christmas, but if you attempt to begin festivities at a time deemed gratuitously too soon by this committee they will tell you off on facebook and to your face with statements like: ffs it’s only November/December 1st/Christmas Eve (delete as appropriate, according to their personal levels of festive allowance).
- You must NOT be friends with or married to anybody who believes that pouring a glass of sherry at 4pm is alcoholic. It is December: sherry-drinking awareness month.
- You must NOT think about your body. It is too late for that. You may resume appearance-panic in March: short-sleeves-are-imminent awareness month.
- This will allow you to NOT experience any guilt about wolfing seven mince pies/Aldi biscuits/slices of Panettone (delete as appropriate, according to your personal level of pleb/poshness).
- If you have children, you must NOT attempt the Christmas shopping if they are not with you. You will be in a state of artificial adoration for them, incorrectly believing them to be ‘not so bad really.’ This may lead to the purchase of preposterously priced gaming packages and celebrity-endorsed beauty advent calendars. The best time for Christmas shopping is on the internet, thirty minutes before their bedtime, when your sherry levels are dipping unpleasantly while they repeatedly hammer the preposterously priced drum-kit you bought them last year.
- You must NOT post photos of your Christmas tree on facebook. Unless you have decorated it with the freshly severed testicles of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Jeremy Hunt and Katie Hopkins, I do not need to see it.
- Ditto photos of your sprogs in Christmas jumpers. Unless it is emblazoned with the phrase ‘I’m On Santa’s List of Little Twats’ in which case, you may share it, but only if you plan to actually send them in to school wearing it on Christmas Jumper Day.
- You must NOT send Christmas cards which feature photos of your family. Christmas isn’t about YOU. The main part has already been taken by Santa/Jesus (delete as appropriate, according to which bearded fictional character you most admire).
- You must NOT allow your deep distress about the state of the world to impede your festive plans. Light a candle and pray. Donate to or volunteer with a charity. Open your doors to those who need a giggle and a sherry. But you and your family fully deserve a pocket of time where lit-up faces and bellies full of food are COMPULSORY. Rest assured our fine collection of cabinet ministers will not let small matters like child poverty or the world being on the brink of nuclear catastrophe stand in the way of them enjoying an incredibly luxurious Christmas, so why should you?
- You must also NOT allow worries about the year ahead to swallow you up. Every year in her diary, my mum would predict that this Christmas would be her last, until the year that really was her last when she predicted a bright and happy future for us all! She was no Mystic Meg. Nor are you. Sit down, have a sherry. Tomorrow will look after itself.
Let the countdown commence!